I was minded to give only 4 stars because this is such a short measure: 48 minutes or so. It is, however, at a budget price for download anyway hence my change of mind. the violin concerto is a finely orchestrated, well paced and balanced work. Its opening is a cross between John Adam's "Dharma At Big Sur" and Ligeti, her tutor. there are similarities to Ligeti throughout but you'd not mistake her work for his. It's such a subtle, colourful, and lithe piece with a finale that dances, like many concerto finales do but with a rhythmic lilt that owes as much to Bartok as it does to Ligeti.
"Rocana" really took me by surprise. With its description of it being a study of the changing effects of light I half expected a post impressionist work in the style of Kaija Saariaho but it couldn't be much different. Again this is exquisitely crafted but is more confrontational than the concerto but, nevertheless balances the spotlit sections with more subtle variations. It sounds not a little ritualist so, if you're looking for eastern mysticism, this is as near as you'll get. I'm reminded too of Messiaen's wind dominated mature works: rhythmically precise and percussive. It's difficult to choose which of these is the better work - not that it matters. Both are very fine works that reveal more with each hearing.
Both works combine technical mastery with a clear compositional voice. Here's a composer who's work I've got to explore more of; however strong her individual voice she's a major talent and this recording (live with the odd cough here and there) is outstanding.
This is a major new violin concerto, idiomatically written, subtly orchestrated and consummately structured. Viviane Hagner plays magnificently and Nagano provides solid support. His direction is Rocaná, for orchestra alone, is similarly impressive. Chin avoids the sound world of late 19th century central European orchestral writing, providing instead a palette of subtle and shifting timbres and textures. This too is a substantial work and although there is just under 50 mins music on this CD, it is of such high quality you won't notice.
I bought this CD based on a glowing review in the Sunday Times Culture Section.I have not been disappointed. Certainly the orchestration of the Violin Concerto and the originality of the work are very striking. I also find the other recorded work well worth a listen. These performances were recorded live and were clearly appreciated by the audience. The sound quality and interpretations are both excellent. Give this CD a try!